Game 244 – Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2

Game 244
Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 2
Saturday, February 14, 1948
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

The once mighty Montréal Canadiens crumbled 4-2 before the Toronto Maple Leafs here Saturday night. On what they showed, the somewhat listless looking Habs will be lucky indeed to make the National Hockey League playoffs.

This was but a shell of the big, rough team that the Leafs found so tough for so many seasons. The game, although it had its thrills for 14,381 Maple Leaf Gardens customers, lacked the slam-bang, “I hate you” tactics that usually mark a battle between the two arch-rivals.

The Canadiens certainly missed the fire and drive of that charging bull, Ken Reardon, as the Leafs never were headed after Maxie Bentley opened the scoring within two minutes of the faceoff. Reardon, stricken with flu a few hours before game time, sweated it out in a hotel bed, was shipped back to Montréal later, and did not make the trip to Chicago for a Sunday game there.

Bentley’s goal, his 24th of the season, came after “Bashin’ Bill” Barilko grabbed the puck near the Canuck blueline and passed ahead to the uncovered Bentley, who flicked it into the corner.

Captain Syl Apps marked his return, after a two week layoff with a thigh injury suffered against the same Canadiens, by earning an assist on the second goal three minutes later. Harry Watson was the marksman, taking a pass at the blueline from Apps, who had carried up. Watson walked right in to beat Bill Durnan with a close, ankle high shot.

Glen Harmon made it 2-1 on a screened shot from well out in the closing minutes of the period. Pestiferous Billy Reay, best of the visitors, shot the final Montréal tally with a long, low one after swerving back and forth in front of the Toronto defence.

Sandwiched in between was a 15-foot ankle high drive by Ted Kennedy of the Leafs, on which Leaf rearguard Gus Mortson showed plenty of fight. Mortson carried the puck down the ice and into a corner, where he was boarded by Butch Bouchard. He fought his way out to grab the puck again and pass to Kennedy.

Handyman Nick Metz scored his seconds goal of the season for the locals’ final tally in the third. Metz, who spelled off Apps on the first line with Watson and Bill Ezinicki, as well as doing duty on the third line and as a penalty killer, popped the puck from close range knee high past Durnan, with assists to Joe Klukay and Sid Smith.

It was Smith’s second assist, although Klukay was the gent who showed some neat stickhandling to carry through the Hab team and get the disc back to Metz from a scramble.

NOTES: On behalf of the Leafs, Apps received a goodwill plaque from Montréal Junior Chamber of Commerce members in a mid-ice pregame ceremony. Then, the Habs proceeded to carry out the brotherly love theory. The Montréalers, some 100, sat in the greens, waved a banner and sang songs…As an indication of the collapse of the Canadiens as the game lengthened, they had just give shots on goalie Turk Broda in the final period, when they should have been pressing their hardest. The Leafs had 17 in the same period, for an overall game margin of 33-25…Gerry Plamondon, making his NHL debut as a two game recruit on a trial basis from the Montréal Senior Royals, didn’t show much. Neither did the other Hab recruit, Norm Dussault, although he once sent Barilko neatly crashing on his panties…Rocket Richard went well for the Habs – until he reached the Leaf defence. He was ineffectual in close…Each team received only four minor penalties, none of the goals was scored when the teams were shorthanded, and the only sign of real trouble came with a scuffle between Jim Thomson and Reay late in the second. They started shoving in the Leaf end. Mortson and Murph Chamberlain rushed to the scene, and the pushing bee ended with referee Bill Chadwick thumbing Mortson and Reay.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 16, 1948

1st Period
TOR GOAL – 01:57 – Bentley (Barilko, Smith)

TOR GOAL – 04:55 – Watson (Apps)
TOR PEN – 09:20 – Barilko, interference
MTL GOAL – 16:23 – Harmon (Reay, Fillion)
TOR PEN – 17:38 – Mortson, holding
MTL PEN – 19:11 – Harmon, tripping

2nd Period
TOR GOAL – 01:50 – Kennedy (Mortson)
MTL GOAL – 08:02 – Reay
TOR PEN – 08:42 – Lynn, tripping
MTL PEN – 13:02 – Reay, roughing
TOR PEN – 13:02 – Mortson, roughing

3rd Period
MTL PEN – 02:41 – Harvey, holding
MTL PEN – 10:31 – Chamberlain, charging
TOR GOAL – 13:10 – Metz (Smith, Klukay)

TOR – Broda (W, 23-25)
MTL – Durnan (L, 29-33)

TORGoaltenders: Turk Broda. Defence: Bill Barilko, Gus Mortson, Wally Stanowski, Jimmy Thomson. Forwards: Syl Apps (C), Max Bentley, Bill Ezinicki, Ted Kennedy, Joe Klukay, Vic Lynn, Howie Meeker, Nick Metz, Sid Smith, Harry Watson.
MTLGoaltenders: Bill Durnan (C). Defence: Butch Bouchard, Glen Harmon, Doug Harvey, Roger Leger. Forwards: Joe Carveth, Murph Chamberlain, Floyd Curry, Norm Dussault, Bob Fillion, Elmer Lach, Jacques Locas, Gerry Plamondon, Billy Reay, Maurice Richard, Rip Riopelle.

TOR – 23-10-12 (.644)
MTL – 14-22-9 (.411)